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A Quick Guide To The Rules And Etiquette Of Surfing PDF Print E-mail
By: Ben Bennink   
Wednesday, 07 November 2007
The Rules of surfing have been around for many years, they are often unspoken and always bent or broken to a degree. Yet we surfers, whether experienced or absolute novice can not afford to ignore them. In today's utterly crowded conditions we must all try a little harder to monitor our own behaviour in the water. Simply because without some idea of what is ok in the water, and what is not, we destroy and devalue the surfing experience for all others around us. Here are the basic rules, it's a very good idea to learn them, ignore these guidelines at your own peril.

1. Have fun, but not at the expense of the other people in the water.
2. Donít drop in (this means donít catch a wave that someone else is already riding). The surfer on the inside (closest to the breaking part of the wave) has right of way.
3. Donít be a snake! (A snake is a surfer who constantly paddles to the inside, or turn inside someone after they started to paddle into a wave, and then invoke the drop in rule). In other words try not to be greedy.
4. Donít paddle through the line-up. (This means donít paddle out where the other surfers are riding, itís very dangerous for all involved).
5. Do show some courtesy and respect to both the more experienced surfers and the locals, remember this. When are surfing away from home, you are surfing in someone else's home. Show some respect.
6. The surfer on the wave has right of way, if paddling out, try to stay out of the way, take the hit from the white water rather than risk ruining another surfers wave. You would not run into traffic, do not paddle into the line of an oncoming surfer.
7. Use common sense where crowds are an issue. If you turn up to a break that is already heavily crowded, then consider surfing somewhere else. Adding to an already frustrated and aggressive crowd wonít help you or them.
8. Wear a leg rope. Occasionally youíll see a surfer in the water who is not using a leg rope, they are usually very experienced and rarely loose control, and they are the only exception to this rule.
9. Always hold on to your board when a wave hits you (throwing your board away and allowing your leg rope to do the job for you, is very dangerous to the other surfers in the water).
10. Never use your board as a weapon or as a means of protection from a possible collision. Many beginners will throw their boards in front of another surfer when afraid of a possible collision. This is incredibly dangerous.

These are the basic rules that have been in force for many years out in the surf. Yet for the last ten years these rules have been broken on a regular basis, mainly by newcomers to surfing. The result is chaos, and learners have come to be resented by the more experienced surfers. learn these rules and apply them, become part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem.

For more information about learning to surf, visit The Surfing Gooroo Learn to Surf guide

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